Susan Woodward is a professor in the political science program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is also an adjunct senior research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University. In 1991-2001, she was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, University of London, recruited to develop a research program, funded by DFiD (the UK department for international development), on the relation among conflict, security, and development, the first ever focus on this relationship that has since become generally accepted, thanks to DFID Commissioner at the time, Clare Short. From 1990-99, she was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Although she was invited to write a book on the transition to markets and democracy in the former socialist countries of eastern Europe, events overcame this plan because she was a long-time specialist on Yugoslavia, which was collapsing into multiple wars, with much media attention. The Brookings book, Balkan Tragedy, aimed to explain these developments for a public audience. While at Brookings, she also taught graduate seminars at Georgetown, George Washington, and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. 


Prior to joining Brookings, she held a year-long research fellowship at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and before that, academic positions in political science on the faculties of Yale University (1982-89), Williams College (1978-82), Mount Holyoke College (1977-78), and Northwestern University (1972-77). In 1994, she was asked by the civilian head of the United Nations mission in former Yugoslavia (the United Nations Protection Forces, or UNPROFOR), Yasushi Akashi, to create a small Analysis and Assessment Unit for his office; she held this position from February through November, 1994, when she returned to Brookings. In August-September 1998, she agreed to assist the head of the Organization for Security and Development (OSCE) Mission in Sarajevo, Ambassador Robert Barry, as a special policy advisor for the 1998 elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. From January 2010 to December 2013, she served as one of 24 members of a Committee of Experts in Public Administration, approved by and assigned to, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, representing the United States.

Professor Woodward is the author of three books, one edited book, and many journal articles, book chapters, and policy papers.  Her initial focus was research in Yugoslavia (beginning in 1965 and ongoing) and on the political economy of eastern European socialism.  Her book, Socialist Unemployment: The Political Economy of Yugoslavia, 1945-1990 (Princeton University Press 1995), was awarded the 1996 Ed A. Hewett Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.  Balkan Tragedy: Dissolution and Chaos after the Cold War (Brookings Institution Press 1995), was chosen by Choice magazine as an “Outstanding Academic Book of 1995.” As a result of that analysis, she was asked in 2002 by a Ford Foundation program officer to write a critique of the concept of failed states; the result was The Ideology of Failed States: Why Intervention Fails (Cambridge University Press 2017).

Her current research focuses on state-building international interventions after civil war, post-conflict political outcomes, and the influence of socialist institutions and policies on the transitions ongoing in eastern Europe, especially in the countries of the western Balkans.




Adjunct Senior Research Scholar

Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Columbia University


Professor of Political Science

The Graduate Center

City University of New York


Consultant on the Balkans

Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum

Social Science Research Council, New York


Ph.D. Political Science

Princeton University


M.A. Political Science

Princeton University


B.A. Political Science

University of Minnesota